Rocky Shores Sandy Shores
Estuaries Soft-rock Reefs
Kelp Forests Ocean Surface
Rocky Offshore Bottoms Sandy Offshore Bottoms
Kelp Forests are a vital habitat to the marine environment as well as our economy. The Kelp-Weed Scallop attaches to the fronds of kelp with fine byssus threads, whereas Channeled and Norris's Top Snails crawl about freely.
The Ocean Surface, also known as the Pelagic Zone, is also home to marine invertebrates. Very rarely, these species are stranded on beaches by unusual storm conditions. One species that may be stranded in great numbers is the By-the-Wind Sailor, Velella velella, a small relative of the Portuguese Man-of-War. The Purple Snail may also be rarely stranded in large numbers. The Purple Snail specimen pictured below was washed ashore on Imperial Beach in late February 2003.